Bucs look to make it four in a row against the Owls
KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 19, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball team will continue its late season stretch of road contests with a trip to the state of Georgia to first take on the Kennesaw State Owls on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. inside the KSU Convocation Center.
Beginning a stretch of five of their next seven games on the road, the Buccaneers fell, 69-60, to the USC Upstate Spartans on Saturday, Feb. 15, inside the Hodge Center. The Blue & Gold came out energized with a 10-2 run to begin the game, holding a lead throughout, and staved off a Spartans’ comeback to take a 27-22 lead into halftime.
To open the second period, ETSU continued its momentum before Upstate went on a 10-4 surge to pull within two points with 13:48 left to play. The Bucs then answered to take a firmer hold onto the lead, but the Spartans responded with another burst to tie things up at 48 with seven minutes to go. Both teams traded the lead over the next few minutes before Upstate went on an 8-0 run over the final two minutes of the contest to take control and down the Blue & Gold, 69-60.
ETSU was led by a pair of double-doubles from post players Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) and Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.). Bond paced the Bucs on the scoring end with 15 points as well as a career-high 15 rebounds in her first career double-double, while Clark notched her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
ETSU (7-16, 3-9) and Kennesaw State (6-18, 4-9) will square off Thursday in the 17th all-time meeting between the two schools; a series that ETSU dominates, 15-1. The Bucs prevailed in the last three meetings versus the Owls including the most recent matchup earlier this season on Jan. 23 when ETSU knocked off KSU, 74-68, inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. Kennesaw State’s only win against the Blue & Gold took place in Kennesaw, Ga. on Feb. 4, 2012 in a 78-68 Owls’ triumph.
WE ARE “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” throughout the 2012-13 season ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics, please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
ETSU ENTERS INTO EZELL ERA
The ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2013-14 season under the guidance of first-year head coach. Brittney Ezell. A two-sport star in basketball and softball at the University of Alabama, Ezell comes to ETSU after spending three seasons as head coach at Belmont University where she compiled a 41-52 overall record. The Franklin, Tenn. native takes the reigns of a veteran-heavy team that returns nine letterwinners from an 8-18 overall 2012-13 campaign. Among the nine returnees are six players who started 10 or more games last season. Highlighted among the returnees is last year’s team-leading scorer and rebounder Destiny Mitchell who led the way with 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Supporting Mitchell are juniors Serena Clark and Cara Bowling who each averaged 9.5 points per game last season.
MITCHELL TO MISS REMAINDER OF SEASON
As a result of a leg injury suffered in the first regular season game of the season at Memphis on Nov. 8, senior forward Destiny Mitchell will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign. Mitchell will undergo surgery and continue injury rehabilitation while the ETSU compliance department petitions for a medical redshirt to have the forward cleared to participate in 2014-15.
LAST TIME VS. KENNESAW STATE
In the matchup against KSU, the Owls came out energized, scoring the first five points of the contest and building up a 16-9 advantage six minutes into the game. The Blue and Gold responded with a 14-2 run to take a 23-18 lead with nine minutes to go in the first half. Back and forth play continued for most of the duration of the half before Kennesaw State went on a 7-0 run to close the period to leave the Bucs trailing, 37-30, at the break. After falling behind by as many as eight points nearly three minutes into the second half, the Bucs answered with a 10-0 burst to take a 42-41 advantage with 14:44 to go. Tightly-contested play continued throughout until an ETSU surge put the Blue and Gold up nine points with 2:30 remaining. Solid ball protection and clutch free throws down the stretch allowed the Bucs to ultimately come away with a 74-68 victory. Freshman Shamauria Bridges led ETSU with a career-high 19 points, while sophomore Chandler Christopher recorded her first-career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 14 rebounds.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in 13 of the 23 games this season. After falling just one rebound short of a double-double in the season opener at Memphis (11/8), the native Georgian reeled off four-consecutive double-doubles for ETSU in games from Nov. 12 - 29 including a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 82-65 win against Alabama A&M (11/29). The junior’s most recent double-double came in a loss at USC Upstate (2/15) where she posted 10 points and 15 rebounds. Clark has now exceeded her double-double total from last season just 23 games into the 2013-14 campaign with nine this season and is poised for more throughout the year. The forward’s 10.1 points per game currently ranks among the top-20 in the A-Sun, while her 10.3 boards per game are second in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently the leading scorer on the team with 11.6 points per game during the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game ranks among the top 15 in the A-Sun while her 1.8 three-point field goal makes per game is in the top 10 in the league. The Elizabethton native posted a career-high 22 points vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24) including four makes from behind the arc. The guard did miss six games this season, from Jan. 19 – Feb.1, due to a hip injury, and returned to action on Feb. 8 against Stetson.
FROM WALK-ON TO STARTER
Sophomore guard Chandler Christopher has proved to be a valuable piece for the Bucs during the 2013-14 season. After spending the entirety of the 2012-13 campaign as a seldom-used freshman walk-on, first-year head coach Brittney Ezell liked what she saw from Christopher and decided to elevate the Greeneville native from walk-on to scholarship status prior to this season. Christopher has since recorded her first-career starts in 21 of the 23 games this season and has been a vital cog for the Blue and Gold. After netting two points, five rebounds and three assists in the opener at Memphis (11/8), the guard followed with career-highs of 17 points and four assists in an also career-best 37 minutes played in ETSU’s 81-72 win at Appalachian State (11/12). Christopher’s performance in the Bucs’ first win of the season at App State led to her being named A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Monday, Nov. 18. The sophomore then added another team-leading scoring performance to her résumé with 15 points in a 77-69 loss to Morehead State on Nov. 21. In her first game off of the bench this season, the guard notched her first-career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 14 rebounds in a 74-68 win versus Kennesaw State (1/23). Recently, Christopher added career-highs of 17 points and five steals vs. Stetson (2/8).
Freshman Shamauria Bridges has been a great offensive boost for the Bucs during the 2013-14 season. The rookie guard is averaging 6.9 points per game in 20 minutes of play and has demonstrated the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. The Florida native has knocked down a trio of triples in three different games this season with the most recent performance coming on Jan. 25 versus Mercer. In her first career start, Bridges led the Bucs with a career-best 19 points in a 74-68 win against Kennesaw State on Jan. 23. The guard also led ETSU in scoring with 13 points in a loss vs. Florida Gulf Coast (2/6).
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through 23 games during the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 66.4 points per game which is fourth in the A-Sun. With the 66.4 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage, where the Bucs are fourth in the league at 40 percent, and in three-point field goal percentage, where ETSU is fifth in the conference at 32 percent.
BOND ANCHORS PAINT
After averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 26 games and six starts in 2012-13, junior forward Maria Bond has proved to be a force in the interior during the 2013-14 campaign. The native Georgian has started 21 games this season and is currently averaging 10.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Bond posted a season-high 18 points in a 75-67 win versus Indiana State (12/18) and notched her first career double-double with 15 points and a career-best 15 rebounds at USC Upstate (2/15). The junior remains a vital piece in ETSU’s paint production going forward.
75 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Since the 2002-03 season the Bucs are 111-20 when the they hit the 75-point plateau, including 80-15 since the 2006-07 season. In the early portion of the 2013-14 conference season, ETSU put up 78 to defeat Lipscomb (1/2), 78-75, to earn the 111th such victory.
HAVING FUN IN THE A-SUN
The Bucs have enjoyed a lot of success since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06 … since joining the league, the Buccaneers have averaged double-digit conference wins a year, including a league-best and school record 18-2 mark in 2009-10, three Atlantic Sun Tournament titles (2008-2010), and two regular season championships (2008 and 2010) …in total, ETSU is 108-55 (.663) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Bucs have also won 88 of their last 133 games against conference foes (includes A-Sun Championship games).
BUCS PICKED MIDDLE OF THE PACK
The Atlantic Sun coaches picked the Bucs to finish tied with North Florida at fifth, while in the media poll ETSU was selected seventh ... the coaches picked FGCU with seven first-place votes to win the conference, while the media selected FGCU with 30 first-place votes ... the Bucs finished the 2012-13 season in eighth place.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!